I have been a part of three different data collection efforts that collected line geometry and infrastructure of recreational trails. One effort was the development of the Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) Trails Inventory Program. This effort involved collecting trails data in FWS national wildlife refuges across the United States. The second was an effort to collect trails data on all of the recreational trails at Haleakala National Park in Hawaii. This effort was based upon the FWS trails data collection with a few minor changes to how the data was collected. In the third effort I was responsible for taking the data to its final state and for training field staff employed by the Student Conservation Association.
Based on these experiences, I have come to understand that the keys to a successful data collection effort lie in:
- Flexibility, and
- Very clear goals of what is to be accomplished.